Kevin Love calls for the Cavs to retire Kyrie Irving’s number

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love believes that the franchise should retire Kyrie Irving’s No. 2 jersey after all he did for the team during his time in Cleveland.

Irving will always be remembered for his jumper that gave Cleveland the lead and eventually the win in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Irving, Love and LeBron James all came up clutch in the final moments of that pivotal Game 7.

Love considers that the biggest shot in franchise history, and he believes that warrants the retirement of Irving’s jersey.

“Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends,” Love told when asked if Irving’s jersey should be retired. “It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down — what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron’s legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great.”

The Cavs played Irving and his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, on Monday night in Cleveland. Brooklyn got the best of the Cavs, winning 125-117. It was the Nets’ ninth straight win.

Irving, who was the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in the 2011 draft, finished Monday night’s game with 32 points, four rebounds and five assists. He shot 7-for-11 from beyond the arc in the win.

While Irving ended up forcing his way out of Cleveland in a trade, he still accomplished a ton for the franchise, helping the team make the NBA Finals several times alongside James and Love.

In his six seasons with the Cavs, Irving averaged 21.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc. He made the All-Star team in four of his six seasons in Cleveland.

Retiring jerseys can be a tricky subject because some players don’t spend their entire career with a franchise, but Love certainly believes Irving’s impact on Cleveland warrants it.

The Cavs likely don’t beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals without him, and his development early in his career was part of the reason why James left Miami to return to the Cavs.

The way that Irving left Cleveland will certainly rub some fans the wrong way, but it may be better to just appreciate the good he brought to the franchise, especially since Cleveland is back in a place where it can contend for a title again.

Irving still has a good amount of his career in front of him, but there may be a No. 2 jersey in the rafters in Cleveland some day, especially if Love has any say in the matter.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.